doro wat


Man, this made the house smell good. I love Ethiopian food, and as far as I know the nearest restaurant is 60 miles away, so we have to make it ourselves if we want it. This is a very simple recipe for doro wat, or chicken stew, and the only weird ingredient is the berbere powder (recipe below) – which is totally worth making yourself and keeping on hand, because it’s one of the most delicious things to add to melted butter and onions ever.

The stew is very easy: chop an onion and saute it in lots of butter in a large skillet. Add a few spoonfuls of berbere paste or powder and mix thoroughly. Add some chopped fresh ginger and a cup or so of red wine, then scrape in a pound of finely chopped chicken meat. Stir until the chicken begins to cook through, then add water to just cover, bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced somewhat and the chicken is completely cooked. Some people add hard boiled eggs to the stew, but I like it plain, with condiments on the side.

Serve with spiced curds, fresh bread (injera is lovely if you have it, but sourdough bread is fabulous also) and green peppers pureed with garlic and salt. Red wine is quite nice alongside.

This stuff smells so good, it’s even fun to wash out the leftover containers two days later.


adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

  • seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seed
  • 2 cups dried red chiles, soaked for 1 hour in hot water and drained
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, minced

Toast the whole dry spices in a skillet. Grind them to powder in a mortar or spice grinder.

Put the chiles in a food processor and puree, then add the ground spices, cinnamon and salt. Process.

Combine the ginger, garlic, onion and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add to the processor and blend, then add the fresh herbs and blend.

Keep the paste in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator, or:

Spread the paste out on a baking sheet and bake at 200° until completely dry, stirring occasionally. This takes a while.

Or, for a quick n’ dirty berbere powder, just combine dried preground spices and herbs – not as authentic, but it gets the job done.



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